PLANS for a new Costa Coffee at a shopping centre in Clacton have taken a step forward.

The Whitbread group has been given permission by Tendring Council to install three signs at a unit at Clacton Factory Outlet, in Stephenson Road West.

A separate application to divide an existing shop unit to create a smaller space for the proposed coffee shop has yet to be decided by the council.

Kames Capital, which runs the shopping centre, said the unit has been empty for a substantial period and had not previously attracted any prospective tenants.

In a report, it said: “The change of use will allow for the building to be brought back into use and occupied by the confirmed new tenant Costa, ensuring the building does not remain vacant.

“It is anticipated that the remaining unit will be occupied by a similar market leader.”

The application would see the existing retail unit split into two smaller shops.

Tendring Council is expected to decide on the application by March 5.